Illinois

Illinois’ SERS – Unchecked State-Sponsored Theft

View as PDF CHICAGO—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released the results of their updated analysis of Illinois’ State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS).
“SERS is the third largest of the government employee pension funds in Illinois, but in some ways, it’s even more efficient at stealing wealth from hard-working taxpayers for the benefit of the politically privileged,” stated Jared Labell, TUA’s director of operations. “Not only does SERS guarantee a 3% cost of living adjustment (COLA) compounded annually, but it also guarantees additional confiscation of taxpayers’ dollars through Social Security, and in some cases, Medicare.”
“Every annual pension featured on our list of the top 200 SERS government retirees exceeds $118,000. These retired government employees are set to collect multi-million dollar lifetime pension payouts that are largely taxpayer-funded. SERS, in line with Illinois’ irresponsible fiscal record, is critically underfunded at only 35.27%. SERS falls way short of even the commonly used standard to determine the overall health of a pension fund, a funding ratio of 80%. The optimal funding ratio is, of course, 100% or greater over a reasonable period of time, but SERS fails at meeting that reduced measurement by a large margin.”

  • Total number of 2016 SERS pension beneficiaries is approximately 66,465.
  • 880 collect pensions in excess of $100,000.
  • 13,960 collect pensions in excess of $50,000.
  • The average 2016 annual SERS pension is $35,568 (Many retirees also collect SS).
  • The average amount that employees paid into their own pension fund is $36,269, or 3% of their estimated lifetime pension payout.
  • The average estimated lifetime pension payout is $1,038,456 (SS not included).
  • The average age at retirement is 60.
  • The average years of employment are 24.
  • In fiscal year 2015, taxpayers were forced to pay $1,804,319,356 into the government pension fund.
  • In fiscal year 2015, SERS government employees paid $266,139,156 into their own pension fund.
  • The net return on investment for SERS in fiscal year 2015 was only 4.79%, or $681,377,052.
  • As of the end of fiscal year 2015, SERS had a 35.27% funded ratio with a $28 billion unfunded liability.

“Taxpayers are forced to pay 678% more than the multi-millionaire pensioners pay into their own SERS pension fund annually. This means for every dollar that an SERS government employee pays into their own retirement fund, taxpayers are forced to pay $6.78!”
“Taxpayers have paid more than their fair share for these lavish government employee benefits, and yet the unions, bureaucrats, and politicians continue to push for expanding the tax burden of Illinois residents to fund their pensions, instead of calling for reform to this broken system,” said Labell. “As shortfalls in the funding of these government pensions mount, the political class in Illinois should expect nothing short of bankruptcy of their constituents to guarantee these egregious pension payments continue. After all, the Illinois state constitution currently protects only the government pensioners, and not the taxpayers, so there is undoubtedly a lopsided caste system in Illinois, created and expanded over many decades for the benefit of the minority of Illinois residents who are employed by the government.”
“For private sector retirees, the maximum Social Security payout for 2016 is $31,668, and there are no cushy, automatic cost of living increases in Social Security benefits for taxpayers that compare to those received by retired government employees. And let’s not forget, nearly all SERS members also receive Social Security benefits in addition to their gold-plated pension payments highlighted in our study,” said Labell.
“We need political courage in Springfield to halt this rapidly growing government pension debacle. Without overstepping the constitutional limitations for reform, the Illinois General Assembly could offer legislation that would immediately place all new hires into individual retirement savings accounts, like a 401(k), and enact the legislation required to allow bankruptcy of municipalities and retirement funds as a way of beginning to protect taxpayers from decades of financially problematic policies.”
“Today’s taxpayers should not be required to pay for services rendered years ago, just as bureaucrats and politicians should not be allowed to balance today’s budgets on the backs of tomorrow’s taxpayers. Reforms are unquestioningly necessary. Reform will benefit all Illinoisans economically if the tax burden and unfunded liabilities are diminished before more benefits and services are cut to perpetuate the current unsustainable government pensions.”
Sadashiv D. Parwatikar, retired from Chester Mental Health Center, tops our list with a stunning $207,623 annual pension! The accumulation of those payments, over a normal lifetime, will reach about $3.8 million. Personal contributions to that gold-plated pension were only $121,041.”
Cindy L. Benson, retiring from Personal Services – Sworn, ties with her counterpart, James C. Morrisey, for the highest estimated lifetime pension payouts of this study. Both retiring at only 50, they could each collect more than $7.6 million in taxpayer funded pension payments over the course of their retirement. Their current annual pensions are a very cushy $125,539!
Kamal Modir tops our list for the highest total SERS pension collected to date at $2,652,929. His own payment into this extravagant government pension was a mere $101,605 – or 2.5% – of his estimated lifetime pension payout.”

“Real reform must start immediately to halt the unfunded government pension liabilities, which grow exponentially as long as the status quo is maintained. Ousting politicians who answer to union thugs, rather than the taxpayers they are elected to represent, is also key to transforming Illinois from a financial pariah to an economic phoenix. Kicking political bosses out of office, like House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, who pushed for the government pension protections in the 1970 Illinois Constitution, as well as his likeminded cronies, is critical if taxpayers want to see substantive changes in the state government and our economic climate,” concluded Labell.
*Lifetime estimated pension payout includes 3% COLA (simple interest) and assumes life expectancy of 85 (IRS Form 590). Nearly all SERS pensioners also receive Social Security benefits in addition to their SERS

Taxpayers vs. Status Quo in Illinois Primary

View as PDF Chicago – Taxpayers United of America (TUA) helped local activists defeat Home Rule in 2 more communities in yesterday’s Illinois primary election. TUA has helped taxpayers defeat a total of 211 Home Rule referenda since its founding 40 years ago. TUA also helped taxpayers of Roselle SD12 to try and defeat a $1.5 million property tax increase referenda but lost to supporters of the tax and spend status quo. Overall, TUA has helped taxpayers defeat a total of 419 tax increase referenda since TUA’s first began contesting referenda in 1977.
“Taxpayers were divided, like everything political these days, over whether they were ready to tell the government bureaucrats to keep their hands out of our pockets and to stop spending our tax dollars faster than they are collected,” stated Jared Labell, TUA director of operations. “Fortunately, a few communities fought back with the ballot box yesterday against unlimited taxing authority.”
Taxpayers in Westchester and Franklin Park resoundingly defeated Home Rule referenda with the assistance of TUA:
Village of Westchester, Home Rule
(13 of 13 precincts counted)
YES 1,350 25.01%
NO 4,047 74.99%
Total 5,397
Village of Franklin Park, Home Rule
(11 of 11 precincts counted)
YES 1,400 36.57%
NO 2,428 63.43%
Total 3,828
“Some taxpayers in Summit weren’t so savvy at the polls. They clearly didn’t get the message that Home Rule always means higher taxes, more bureaucracy, and more government in your business,” said Labell. “Home Rule narrowly passed in Summit by 136 votes.”
Village of Summit, Home Rule
(3 of 3 precincts counted)
YES 946 53.87%
NO 810 46.13%
Total 1,756
“Unfortunately, taxpayers in Roselle SD12 weren’t ready to tell government school bureaucrats that enough is enough and force them to rein in spending, as voters approved a $1.5 million dollar property tax increase. Apparently they haven’t gotten the message that 80% of local taxes fund government salaries and benefits, including ridiculously lucrative pensions. This is a much more insidious problem than the typical waste, fraud, and abuse that we know is rampant in government bureaucracies,” said Labell.
Roselle GS 12 PROP TAX
Total
Yes 1518, 56.37%
No 1175, 43.63%
“These substantial property tax hikes are not ‘for the children’ or the collective improvement of the community. It’s a shame that voters decided to force more tax dollars out of the productive private sector and award taxpayers’ hard-earned money to government thugs and cronies. These bureaucrats would prefer that your property tax payments put you out of your home before they would agree to compensation that is fair to them, the children, and the community they are supposed to serve,” concluded Labell.
Look for further analyses of the March 15 primary election results from TUA in the coming days.

IMRF – The Gold Standard in Taxpayer Abuse

View as PDF CHICAGO—Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today released the results of their updated analysis of Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF).
“The IMRF, although touted as the gold standard in government pension funds, is just as efficient at stealing taxpayer wealth to benefit the political elite as any Illinois State pension fund,” stated Jim Tobin, TUA president.
“The entire list of the top 200 IMRF annual pensions exceeds $116,000 with multi-million dollar lifetime payouts that are largely taxpayer funded. Although the IMRF is adequately funded, that doesn’t make it fair to taxpayers, especially considering that the total unfunded liabilities for Illinois government pensions is far in excess of $111 billion.”
“All of these top 200 ‘poor civil servants’ collected salaries of at least $100,000 with some as high as $400,000. Nearly all IMRF employees are also eligible for Social Security benefits in addition to their IMRF pensions,” added Tobin. “Let’s not forget that 80% of municipal taxes, including property taxes, go to pay government employee salaries, pensions, and benefits.”

  • Total number of IMRF pension beneficiaries is approximately 119,556.
  • 478 collect pensions in excess of $100,000.
  • 5,916 collect pensions in excess of $50,000.
  • The average 2014 annual IMRF pension is $17,268.
  • The average amount that employees paid into their own pension fund is $19,030, or 4.6% of their estimated lifetime pension payout.
  • The average estimated lifetime payout is $411,998*.
  • The average age at retirement is 62.
  • The average years of employment are 18.
  • In fiscal year 2014, taxpayers were forced to pay $923,382,825 into the government pension fund.
  • In fiscal year 2014, local and county government employees paid $351,089,445 into their own pension fund.
  • The net return on investment for IMRF in fiscal year 2014 was only 5.8%, or $2,001,440,028.
  • As of the end of fiscal year 2014, IMRF had an 87.3% funded ratio with a $4.8 billion unfunded liability.

“Taxpayers are forced to pay $2.63 for every $1 the multi-millionaire pensioners pay into their own IMRF pension fund annually, or 263%. I can’t think of a single private sector employer who does that. Social Security payments by the employer are an equal match to employee payments. You won’t see any gold-plated, multi-million dollar Social Security lifetime payouts. The maximum Social Security payout for 2016 is $31,668, and there are no cushy, automatic cost of living increases in Social Security benefits. And again, let’s not forget that nearly all of IMRF members also get Social Security payments in addition to the pension payments highlighted in our study.”
“Until all government employees are moved from the current defined-benefit pension system to 401(k) style retirement savings accounts, the system will remain unsustainable and unfair to taxpayers. But this type of positive, sweeping reform cannot occur without first amending the Illinois Constitution by removing the government employee pension protection clause. However, the Illinois General Assembly could immediately require that all new government employees be placed in a 401(k) style defined-contribution plan, which would eliminate additional unfunded government pension liabilities immediately.”
“Today’s taxpayers should not be required to pay for services rendered years ago, just as bureaucrats and politicians should not be allowed to balance today’s budgets on the backs of tomorrow’s taxpayers. Let’s make necessary reforms that will benefit all of Illinois economically and finally do something that actually is ‘for the children.’”
“To help the average taxpayer understand the problem, we list the names of the pensioners and the amounts they collect in retirement,” added Tobin. “It really hits home when people see the names of their local ‘civil servants,’ people in their community that they know at least by name, and the outrageous amount of taxpayer dollars they collect in retirement while doing absolutely nothing.”
“Edward A. Anderson, retired from CGH Medical-Sterling, tops our list with a mind-boggling $306,621 annual pension! The accumulation of those payments, over a normal lifetime, will reach about $6.2 million. His contribution to that gold-plated pension was only $312,570.”
“Roy F. McCampbell tops the list for estimated lifetime pension payouts. Retiring at only 56 from the Village of Bellwood, he could collect more than $6.8 million in taxpayer funded pension payments. His current annual pension is a very lucrative $263,809. He collects this wealth from taxpayers in a community where 12.8% of the population lives below the poverty level and the per capita income is only $20,395!”
“Albin D. Pagorski tops our list for the highest total IMRF pension collected to date at $3,083,099. His own payment into this extravagant government pension was a meagre $93,910 or 2% of his estimated lifetime pension payout.”

“Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, AKA: Boss Madigan, has had the Illinois taxpayers in his death grip for far too long. Every taxpayer needs to vote in the upcoming Illinois Primary on March 15, 2016 and vote out every incumbent who has played a role in taxpayer abuse, stripping wealth from us to put in the pockets of the government retirees. The constitutional protection of this redistribution of taxpayer wealth is criminal,” charged Tobin. “The only way to enact real reform is to oust the guilty parties who answer to union thugs, rather than the taxpayers they are elected to represent,” he concluded.
*Lifetime estimated pension payout includes 3% COLA (simple interest) and assumes life expectancy of 85 (IRS Form 590). Nearly all IMRF pensioners also receive Social Security benefits in addition to their IMRF pension. Any blank spaces in the data are intentional and due to government redactions or withheld data points in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.

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Taxpayers United Of America: (TUA). is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(4) taxpayer advocacy group. Founded June 27, 1976 in Chicago, Illinois by activist and economist Jim Tobin, TUA works on behalf of taxpayers to reduce local, state, and federal taxes. In the past forty years, TUA has saved taxpayers more than $200 billion n taxes and has become one of the largest taxpayer organizations in America. Check All posts. s.

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